A team trying to retrieve the body of a Canadian climber has retreated to Mount Everest’s base camp and is regrouping for what is expected to be their last chance this season.
The sherpas were able to reach Shriya Shah-Klorfine, who was lying at about 8,300 metres at above sea level, and brought her about 500 metres down the mountain Saturday. But one sherpa suffered a long tumble and the weather turned against them.
The team left the body there and went down to Camp 3 to sleep. In the face of continuing bad weather, expedition manager Ganesh Thakuri said Sunday, they went right back to base camp.
Mr. Thakuri said he is trying to arrange another three sherpas from among those at base camp, but all are exhausted from a season of climbing. It would take too long to get fresh people up to the base camp.
Mr. Thakuri hopes a full team will be assembled by Monday for a final effort at retrieval, but they are racing against time. In late May, rising temperatures and thawing ice force the removal of equipment that helps climbers get past the Khumbu Icefall, a 610-metre glacier.
“Within four days all the ropes on the route will be removed,” Mr. Thakuri said from Nepal. “In this case we will not be able to send our people.”
He said that it would take two days to get back up to the body and another day to bring it down, weather permitting. This leaves them a very narrow window of opportunity to start a final attempt.
“Definitely by tomorrow,” Mr. Thakuri said. “Tomorrow at the latest.”
If they can’t go, the woman’s body will remain on the exposed mountain until October, when the next climbing season starts.
Ms. Shah-Klorfine grew up in Everest’s shadow in Kathmandu, before moving to Mumbai with her parents and then to Toronto with her husband. She had dreamt of scaling the mountain since she was 9.
For the past two years, Ms. Shah-Klorfine had been walking and running 19 kilometres a day with 20 kilograms of weight strapped to her back to prepare for the climb. She and her husband put off having children so she could conquer the mountain, and remortgaged their house to raise about $100,000 for the trek.
Ms. Shah-Klorfine’s husband, Bruce Klorfine, said in an e-mail he will be in Nepal on Monday.
“I hope [the sherpas]will be successful, but especially wish for them to return safely,” he wrote Saturday morning.
If his wife’s body is recovered, he said a funeral service will be held in Nepal, where she still has family.
Darren Klorfine, Ms. Shah-Klorfine’s brother-in-law, said that although the body is now in a more retrievable spot, he’s worried the sherpas won’t able to go back for it in time. “I think my brother will have a lot more peace once this is all settled and over with,” he said.